Thursday, December 1, 2011

I've been busy

But who hasn't?  That is no excuse not to blog. Truth be told, I have three posts drafted just waiting for pictures to be added and published.  But I can't finish those right now.  You don't even know about Sonny's birthday, or our trip to Chicago.  At least I can tell you about Thanksgiving.
My parents are in the last stretch of construction at their place and have no kitchen, so obviously we couldn't have Thanksgiving there!  My sister offered to host at her house in Orlando, so after flying into Ft. Lauderdale Tuesday night we drove 3 1/2 hours to Orlando Wednesday afternoon.  Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the boy HATES car seats - although by the end of the week, he matured enough to accept that sometimes he has to man up and sit in the car seat. He gets it.

It was a treat to spend some time with my sister and her new husband in their home. They are happy and wonderful and I am so happy for them- and their house is fantastic.   I only get to be with my parents and sister a few days out of the year so the times we do have together seem to go by way to fast.

All the food was Thanksgiving-y, my Dad helped Cicely make the Turkey and he made is signature cranberry sauce (it isn't Thanksgiving without it).  We (the Maready half of the dinner) dined on a Quorn Tuk'y log (it was a little dry- my fault).

My sister has two dogs and two cats. As much as Sonny liked the dogs, they were chopped liver compared to the cat. Man, he loved Ira.   He would follow (ok, chase) him around the house and whenever he would catch him, he would just try to hug and kiss him.
Speaking of kisses - the boy is all about kisses.  He just started really going for it.  He will walk up to us, pucker his lips and give kisses and even make a MUAH noise!  He kisses all the stuffed animals he can find (even in the airport gift shops), the animals in his books and even the stuffed santa in the lobby of our building. He is such a sweet boy.   After Orlando we headed back to Ft. Lauderdale where we spent 3 days in the sun with Grandma and Grandpa.  All in all a successful vacation (we always joke that i judge a vacation based on the tan I get- I have a little bit of a glow)

(this list is more for me to remember than for you to read through, since I don't keep a journal or a baby book, i have to document these milestones somewhere right? you can skip all this and go to right to the pictures if you want) He is growing so fast and is definitely developing his own unique personality. He is funny and loves to laugh and make us laugh, he is social and loves an audience, he is a great dancer and has rhythm I could only dream of having, he loves to sing and can even sing (lalalala ) a couple real songs, he talks all the time and he really thinks he is having a conversation with you. He says Momma, Dada, ball, more and will try to mimic other words and sounds we say.  He signs please, milk, more, help, no and all done.  He makes less of a mess eating, uses a fork and spoon, washes his hands after dinner (no soap), brushes his teeth (by no means is he an expert at any of these, but he tries and improves daily). When ever he sees a dob he says woof woof, he roars when he sees lions and will try to make any animal sound given him.  He is very helpful when we are cleaning and loves to sweep and wipe things.  If he sees a paper towel or a sponge he will pick it up and start cleaning the nearest flat surface smiling the whole time.  He is just great and I love him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the Little Ones

I am stepping onto a soap box right now, but only for a minute.

Like Kanye West, I had been wanting to Occupy Wall Street, even if it was only for 30 minutes.  I live in NY, I'm disappointed in our government, I'm disappointed in our economy, I'm embarrassed by our greed and our corruption. I do have a job though, and for that I am grateful.   Am I not "Un-American" as Presidential hopeful Herman Cain suggests. Nor do I think that the protests are "dangerous" as the mulit-millionaire (Wall St. poster boy) Mitt Romeny claim.  In fact, I am very much American.  Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were very American and very outspoken on their fears of big government, big corporations and big banks.  In 1816 Jefferson wrote "...I sincerely believe, with you [John Taylor], that the banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

I had yesterday off and after taking my sweet time around the house in the morning and afternoon, the babe and I headed down to Wall Street.  After taking random side streets to avoid the people I exited the subway with, (I was slightly embarrassed from falling UP the stairs, carrying a sleeping baby and landing on my back with my skirt not where it should have been) I saw the barricades and heard the drums.  We got there just in time to see the start of a line of people marching down the street carrying signs, playing drums and chanting.  Some signs were relevant and some not so much.  Then we found Zuccotti Park.  My nose was welcomed with the smell of Nag Champa, my ears were welcomed with the sounds of a drum circle and my eyes were welcomed with color! 

Sure, there was a LARGE mix of people camping in the park.  There were homeless people that were happy to finally have company, families teaching their children about Freedom of Speech, drifters glad to be a part of something, older men and women reliving the protests of their youth trying to fit into the same clothes they wore then, young women taking advantage of the topless laws walking around topless, people clearly on drugs, drunks, men and women wearing warrior paint on their bodies, women nude covered in body "spray" paint, college kids, "prep" kids, working men - in suits and ties, average people that are angry and hopeful, people really serious about making a difference.  Through all the crazies that were there, there were pockets of people that were sober, fully dressed, working hard.  Working hard to be legit. 2 legit. 2 legit 2 quit.

It is a real operational camp.  There is a kitchen.  Restaurants and people are donating food and money- there is a compost bin, recyling stations, water filtration stations, volunteer sign-up booths. I felt excitment.  I was happy to be there. I was happy to get to see some action. I am glad that this is happening.  I was impressed.  There is a lot of good going on, and I HOPE that it doesn't dissapear.  I will be back.

With all that is happening, several people (at least 7) said to me as they pointed to my son a variation of "We are here for him."  I would be lying if it didn't choke me up a little. Thank you to eveyone who is Occupying Wall Street for the right reasons.

This is often mis-quoted giving credit to Gandhi:

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you." - Nicholas Klein in an 1918 Trade Union Address

Here is a good artcle from Sunday's New York Times:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

People get Married

I don't love weddings. I like the concept behind weddings. I like that people unite their lives when they fall in love and want to spend eternity with each other. That part is nice. I like the happy feelings associated with a new marriage and potential it brings.

I don't like the hoopla of wedding planning. I don't think weddings are the best use of the money spent on them.  I don't like the stress that everyone involved feels at some point during the planning.

I eloped and do not regret it. My family on the other hand were not so pleased with that decision. Hi, Mom and Dad  :)

I've been to two weddings this year and both were executed very well. First, my sister got married in March, **I failed to add pictures, so I will do that in this post** and then my friend Manisha got married this past weekend.

My sister's wedding was traditional in the American sense. She wore a beautiful ivoryish dress and had her wedding party onstage with her and then had the reception soon after.  She looked stunning and was a beautiful bride. Manisha's wedding was traditional (I think ) in the Indian sense.  She looked like an Indian Princess. She could have been in a Disney movie. Her dress was HEAVILY bedazzled and it sparkled like an open treasure chest on a pirate's ship.  No offense to my sister, but I don't think I have ever seen a more radiant looking bride.  She was just so shiny from head to toe.

The ceremony was long, but meaningful (like my sister's).  The food was delicious (Indian food), but my sister's cake was better (sorry Manisha).

I wore a nice bridesmaid dress to my sister's wedding - maybe someday I will have the chance to wear a floor length brown satin type dress. I was excited to get to wear a saree to Manisha's wedding - maybe I will have the chance to wear a saree again (I hope so).

If you are not married, but would like to be one day, may I suggest an Indian Wedding?  If you invite me, I promise to like it.   If I was not married and planning a wedding, I would forgo the Traditional American getup and wear an Traditional Indian getup.

Favorite's from Cicely's wedding:

From Manisha's Wedding:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Walkin the Dog - Not the Yo Yo trick

Yesterday when I went out with the boy, we heard live music in the playing in the distance.  I know how much he likes to dance, so instead of playing at the playground we followed the music and ended up at the Latin Grammy Street Party.

He danced a little bit, but the highlight of the day was when he found a tiny dog to befriend. The dog's owner handed Sonny the leash and then this happened:

I think it is pretty cute.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Somebody I live with --  I'm not naming names-- barfed on my Kindle.

I'll give you a hint: It wasn't Josh and it wasn't me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm no Expert BUT... Part 2

Remember this post? I wrote it when Sonny was 4 months and it was very relevant then.  Well It has been 6 months since, and I have done a lot more research, purchasing, trashing and saving and this is what I have used and loved these past 6 months.

1)  Dining. My friend Corinne had this for her daughter, the Boon Catch Bowl. Whenever we would meet up for dinner or lunch she would stick it to the table and eat as though a baby wasn't at our table.  I bought one, and it is fantastic.  It makes eating so much cleaner.  Most of the time.  I used to put his food on the tray of his high chair and  hope he didn't fling it everywhere.  Now with this bowl, it is... contained.  That is nice.  We take it everywhere.  Restaurants, just stick it ot the table, throw some food in there and you get about 5 minutes of peace.  Which is 5 minutes more than what you get with out it.  Bibs.  Eh. You don't need bibs. I bought a variety of bibs, from organic cotton to silicon and we don't use any of them.   What works great is an old t-shirt.  It is long enough that it catches dropped food and easy to wash.  Whenever I tried to put a bib on the babe, he would freak out and try ripping it off, this solves that problem.  My Mom also suggested an old towel with a whole for the head cut out in the middle. This keeps their arms free and their front totally covered.

2)  Food. There are a lot of different organic baby foods out there.  Which do I think is the best?  Jar baby food? uh-uh. Frozen homemade pureed food?  Nope (takes too long). After searching shelves and websites it is obvious that the way to go is pouches.  Oh and once you learn that, then you have to learn about all the different brands!  I first tried Ella's Kitchen.  I liked it.  Pro's: A large variety of flavor, taste good, good story, available at Target and online. Con's: Consistency.  It isn't smooth.  Don't get me wrong, I like chunks but there is something off about this brand that I don't love.  Sonny will eat it, but it is not his favorite.  Then I tried Happy Baby. This is my least favorite.  Yes, Dr. Sears is involved with this brand so it sells and it is popular, but it is not good.  Pro's:  Least expensive of the "good" pouches, available everywhere, variety of flavors and options -- if you can't find the other brands in a store, chances are you will see this one.  Cons: Gross.  I bought a bunch of these at Whole Foods when we were traveling once and had to return them.  I did not care for the taste and neither did Sonny.  We gave them a chance, sampled different ones and we were not satisfied.  Call me a baby food snob, it's ok, I don't care.  I recently tried Earth's Best.  I just don't love this brand for anything. Maybe it's the logo or how they have saturated the market of organic goods, I don't know.  I just don't love them.  Pro's:  Well known brand, lot's of options, good price point.  Con's: Too many extra ingredients, too commercial (maybe?).  So what does that leave?  My favorite and my TOP pick for baby food: Plum Organics! I love these.  Pro's: Flavors!  Taste! Consistency! Branding! Con's: Price.  I guess you get what you pay for.  These are by far the smoothest, tastiest food pouches out there.  I can eat these all day long and when I need to give Sonny a little snack or meal on the go, he loves these too.  Mango Pear?!  Yummy.  Even the veggie mixed with fruit combos are good.  I've shopped around for the best price and Ecomom seems to be the best.  Sometimes Babies r Us will have then 10 for $10 and that is great.  Otherwise,  Ecomom is the way to go. You can also buy a variety pack so you aren't stuck with a bunch of one flavor your little one doesn't like.

Now, the paragraph above also goes for snacks and intro foods.  Plum wins hands down.  Their puffs are far supierior to other leading brands.  Their meal pouches are also pretty good. 

3)  Teething.  You all have seen Sonny's necklace.  Yes, it makes people assume he is a girl BUT I think it works.  Josh likes to say, "if nothing else, at least it looks cute."  It does look cute and my experiments show its success.  During a rough few days of teething, I took the necklace off and to me he was visibly worse.  More irritable, more restless and less him.  It could have been that it was just a bad day OR it could be that the necklace really does help soothe and regulate balance, pain and irritabilty. I am going with the latter.  I bought ours from Inspired by Finn.  What I learned after and am passing on to you- is that the lighter the color the more powerful the healing.
Our fail-proof go-to remedy are the Boiron Camilia Drops.  These things are great. I can't even tell you how many boxes we have gone through.  True Story - It was Sonny's first day with a new sitter and he was in teething in a bad way.  We told her about the drops and that they were in his diaper bag should he need them.  When I picked him up after work, she said he was really upset and fussy and she gave him a drop and within a minute he was a completely different baby.  Happy and smiling and back to normal.  It's true, I see that transition every time we use them. The other product I like are the Humphrey's Teething Pellets #3.  We use these at bedtime during bouts of restlessnes and fusiness caused by the teething.  They work.  Yes, I am aware that they have Belladonna and some people aren't OK giving it to their babies.  From what I learned about it and the amount in the pellets, I am fine with using them. Like I said it works.  Three pellets right before bed = sleep, which =  :) Me.

4) Brands.  One of my go-to baby brands is ZoLi.  They are a smaller company and of their 10 products (not counting variety of each product) I have 5.  Their Teething sticks are the best.  They come in a pack of two.  They are used so often and lost so often in our house that we have had to reorder them 3 times.  Josh was worried at first that Sonny would poke himself in the eye with it, but he never did.  We gave it to him when he was 4 or 5 months.  The Sumo Stack is also used daily in our house.  I love it because it really keeps all his snacks seperate.  In one simple container we can have: dry snacks, fresh fruit and veggies. Or a grain or whatever else you want to take with you.  Lastly, the sippy cup.  I thought I was mad at it for leaking once, but it turned out I just didn't close it properly that time.  I really like this.  I like the weighted straw, the handles and it's size.  It fits perfectly in Sonny's hands.
H&M. I have found the best, stylish, plain, not overly boy clothes and accessories at Baby H&M.  The prices are good and if on sale they are great.  I will warn you though that the sizes run very big. I'm still dressing Sonny in 4-6 month clothes.  Added bonus:  a lot of their staple items come in Organic cotton.

5)  Skin/Sun Care. This is a hard one.  It took me a while to find sunblock that I felt good about using regularly on the baby this summer.  One of my favorite blogs Growing a Green Family dedicated a couple posts to sun safety.  If you are interested in learning about the chemicals and free radicals that enter our bodies via ordinary sun block, that is a good place to start.  As always when buying ANY skin care item I strongly suggest you check it on Skin Deep first.  We used two sunscreens this year. For long exposure and to cover the baby head to toe, I like Loving Naturals.  It has a 1 rating on Skin Deep and their ingredient list is friendly.  When we were just out and about walking around we used the Badger Face Stick. This also has a 1 rating.
The other major summer skincare item for us is mosquito repellent. If you know me, then you know I am a magnet for any type of bug that can bite.  It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have an allergic reaction to any bite. They last forever, and bruise my skin.  Anyway, I wanted to get some products that I would be comfortable using for myself and Sonny.  Again, I found two I like. One for a good head to toe and the other for out and about last minute application.  For all-over spray on protection I opted for Alpenglow Insect Repellent.  It rated 0 on Skin Deep! All their products are hand made in Alaska and are wonderful.  I am really really happy with this spray.  For the last minute application, Badger won again, we use the Badger Anti-Bug Balm Stick. This also has a 0 rating.

6)  Shoes.  There are always two or more sides to every theory when it comes to raising and caring for kids.  When it comes to shoes, I am on the side of soft soled shoes are best for new feet.   There are plenty of articles online to read about the development of the bones in babies feet. I think this article gives a nice simple break down of baby feet development.  Long story short: baby feet bones are super soft and constintally changing and fusing together. We need to let their feet be free to grow and develop naturally without hard conforming shoes.  Ok, there are a ton of soft soled shoes on the market. I have reached out to mom groups, pediatricians and friends and I've learned which are the best and why.  My favorite (I ordered a pair- haven't received them yet, so they are just my favorite in theory- so far) are Soft Star Shoes.  These are hand made in Oregon with formaldehyde free leather and lined with sheepskin.  They are a little more expensive than other brands, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for.  When Sonny was just cruising and taking a few steps we used Robeez.  They are tried and true and probably your most common soft soled shoe.  I like that you can get them for a good price on Amazon, they come in all sorts of colors and styles, they are easy to get on and off and they stay on.  However, I don't think their leather is chemical free.  Some other brands you might want to consider are: See Kai Run, Pre-Schoolians, Bobux (these are made with eco-leather and are a safer alternative to Robeez),  Pedipeds and Nowali.  That will give you a good place to start.  I will say on our next kid, I will skip Robeez and do Bobux.

7) Carriers.  You can carry your baby a million different ways, in a dozen or so carriers. The most common are the Ergo, Bjorn, wraps, ring slings and Mei Tai's.  I've put Sonny in everything except the Bjorn.  My favorite hands down is the Ergo. It is easy and I feel the most secure with it. However, I will say that with more confidence I would have used the wraps more and started using my ring sling earlier.  If you are interested in carriers and live in NYC then I highly HIGHLY recommend you contact Caprice at The Art of Baby Wearing. She is a baby wearing genius and can help with all questions you might have.  Once a month she does classes here in Inwood and I think she also teaches in other locations (does house calls too).  There are other places like Slings in the City which can be helpful. I'm not going to judge you if you have a Bjorn, but I will suggest that you learn more about the development of baby hips, spine and pelvis.  When your baby is in a Bjorn, their legs are not supported and they just dangle there.  That is not ideal for their hips and spine (so some experts say).  Naturally, babies (especially newborns) should have their legs up in frog position. Later, they should be in a wrap-around-you type position.   

Phew, that is a lot of information.  I sincerely hope you get something out of it.  If you have a product you use and think I will love, please tell me about it!  I am always eager to try new things.

a couple weeks ago at the Highline